Archives for July 2015

If Facebook Disappeared Would You Notice?

Onefool

My 11 going on 30 year-old daughter finds my high school yearbook and can’t decide if it is more interesting to make fun of the way the class of ’87 dressed or to read what people wrote.

“Dad, how many girls signed your yearbook and why did so many write “love” in it?”

I smile and suggest there are some stories she doesn’t want to know.

“Don’t treat me like a baby, I know you had other girlfriends before mom.”

“I had a big life before mom and before you guys came around. So did she. You should too.”

She doesn’t know somewhere in the pages she will find the words my high school girlfriend wrote to me and instead of a simple “love” she said “I love you” and made the usual promises teenagers make to each other.

I don’t take the book from her hands, if she stumbles upon it, she stumbles upon it. Though I am not bothered by the idea of her finding those words I am not particularly interested in having the discussion that will come if she locates them.

Better to play it cool and not react because she is far more likely to get bored and move on. Or maybe a friend will Facetime her and that will be the end of it.

“Dad, I know you are friends with a bunch of girls on Facebook, will I find your ex-girlfriends there?”

Sure enough her phone rings and the conversation ends. Dad’s yearbook isn’t nearly as interesting as whatever conversation she is going to be involved in now.

If Facebook Disappeared Would You Notice?

Yeah, I am connected with a few of them but until my daughter mentioned it I didn’t even notice that there is no interaction there.

We connected on Facebook years ago during the time when very few of us put any thought into whether there should be rules about who to connect with, probably because we were too busy poking people or throwing sheep at them.

That was before Zuckerberg and company spent countless hours working and tweaking algorithms that make it hard to see the updates of the people you care about, let alone those you chose to connect with for other reasons.

And it was certainly before Facebook became a place where people would collect to go apeshit about politics, hunting and whatever else incurred the wrath of the faceless, nameless internet mob.

Sometimes I look at the crap I see there and I ask myself if I would notice if Facebook disappeared.

Is it adding value to my life or is it taking something away?

Maybe a little bit from column A and some from column B with a dash of something else in there too.

Don’t mistake that to mean that I think everyone of my updates are meaningful, significant and or special because they aren’t, but some of them are a hell of a lot of fun to write.

What Kind Of Schmuck Quotes Himself?

The answer is me.

I do.

Those are my words below and there is a reason they are there.

“What I know for certain is there are people who come into our lives who turn them upside down and inside out. If you open the eyes inside your chest and clear the clutter from your soul they will help you wake up and remember who you are and who you might have been.”  Write From The Heart & Edit With The Head

When I collected the mail today I received the latest copy of Sports Illustrated. It is the one with Pete Carroll on the cover and the tease about it being the 25th anniversary of Friday Night Lights and how the author followed his heart back to Texas.

I looked at that cover and glanced at one of those Occupy Democrat pictures that are going around on Facebook and shook my head.

Not because I am a Democrat or a Republican but because it is more opinion disguised as fact and pushed our for emotional impact.

You don’t need to know that I am registered Democrat but that I have considered an independent for years but I’ll share it now because it fits the conversation I am trying to have with you.

What I want for my children is to eventually have the sort of relationship I alluded to in that quote above, not the one about arguing with a fool but the other one.

I want them to find someone who turns their world upside down and inside out in a good way. I want them to reach a place where they think long and hard about what they believe and why.

Ask questions and be prepared to go a different direction.

I want them to think.

Facebook doesn’t make me think very often. That might be because of how I use it and I might be responsible sometimes for adding to the noise too.

But I am aware of this.

Hell I am probably far more aware of what I do or do not do than at any point in my life.

Doesn’t mean I haven’t been the fool in the argument or the dude arguing with the fool. Sometimes I have done so knowing full well I was involved with an idiot but I continued because my intent was to influence the lurkers, not the jackass who kept telling me how smart they are.

Hell it is not that hard to find people who are smarter than I am. I can name quite a few and if you ask around there will be more than a handful of people who will volunteer names of people they think are smarter than me too.

If I told you I don’t give a fuck if they are a midlevel VP at a bank in Texas you might wonder if I am speaking to one person in specific or not and I’d say it doesn’t matter.

That is because being smarter than me is nothing special, at least without qualifying it and adding some sort of context to it.

That is part of the problem with so much of what I see on Facebook, it lacks context.

Can’t and won’t say I am going to delete my Facebook accounts because I don’t see a need to go that far, but if they closed up shop and it all went away I don’t know that I would miss all that much about it.

What about you?

Lose The Day, Seize The Day

You Shouldn’t Blog About Your Time In a Mexican Prison

crazywomen
Not so long ago the female star of Dads and Daughters asked me to explain why boys are so damn dumb.

I looked at her and asked her what her real question was and she gave me a 15 minute explanation about what led to the question that included numerous examples of things she thought were ridiculous, some of which might have even referenced me.

The rules of blog dictate that had it been asked by one of the other women in my life I would have laughed and said something about crazy people not being allowed to dictate what is stupid and what isn’t.

That might have led us to recount some ridiculous post like The Underwear Chronicles Of The Blogosphere and then I would have been forced to say look, “there is something bright and shiny” which we all know is especially effective when dealing with people who Suffer From Cluttered Mind Syndrome.

Except it is not really something that is limited to one gender so I concede if I pointed in the direction of bright and shiny I might have tried very hard to actually find something that met that description.

You Shouldn’t Blog About Your Time In a Mexican Prison

Almost four hours ago I stood outside under a starlit night and tried to explain what a blog is and why I do it to people who had never one.

They listened intently and I related some stories related to How Do You Catch A Dragon and How Do You Recognize Windows of Opportunity?

One of the guys asked me if there are boundaries in blogging and I talked about how the boundaries have evolved for me and why they are so subjective.

Somewhere in the blog you can find a post that talks about how a bear interrupted my girlfriend and I, some goofy tales about things that happened in college and a bunch of parenting tales.

Sift through the pages and you’ll see me talk about some very personal moments when I feared my father might die, heartbreak and hope and all sorts of other stuff.

But you don’t see as much about the kids as you used to because they are old enough for me to recognize that I don’t have the same ownership of those stories as I used to.

Old enough to Google themselves and be Googled so I try not to post stuff that might embarrass them.

So you might ask yourself how does Mr. Jack Steiner come up with a headline about time in a Mexican prison?

The answer is I didn’t spend time in a Mexican prison but I came damn close to getting arrested in Tijuana.

****

It was 1988 and my fraternity went to San Diego for a mini-convention that included a 16 hour stop in TJ.

Several hundred of us crossed the border, headed for Revolution for drinks, women and glory. In other words we, the young, dumb and stupid men who were fueled with booze and the conviction that we were invincible went out looking for trouble.

We might not have recognized that trouble was what we were searching for but trouble knew full well and it made a point to meet us as soon as possible.

****

There are many stories associated with that night and I might have shared a few of them with the people who wanted to learn more about blogs and blogging, primarily because one of my cohorts from those days was with me tonight.

It was he who suggested that it might not be smart to write about being incarcerated in a Mexican prison.

We had a good laugh telling the tale and I assured everyone that I was not arrested because I was not and I might have shared a piece of the altercation that led to my having to hide from the police in a club.

****

If my daughter knew that story she would have said it was proof I was a stupid boy too and I might have had to agree with her.

But she doesn’t know that story and if you tell her you will regret it because I have a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.

My children don’t need to know everything about me. They don’t need to know about all of my adventures and not because some of those tales will portray me in a less than positive light either.

They already know that dear old dad is just a man and that sometimes he has made mistakes or done stupid things.

What I worry about is that they will look at the dumb luck that enabled me to get through some of these moments and think they have access to it too.

Better not to test certain limits. Better not to push some things that don’t need to be pushed because the boulder that rests on top of the hill can roll backward just as easily as it sits still.

Einstein miracle

The Underwear Chronicles Of The Blogosphere

Mankini - Queen Victoria Market

Can you see me?

Sometimes people pitch me on products or services that I just can’t use or support because I don’t believe in them or because I can’t identify with the product.

Othertimes I can’t do it because I am not a cut rate blogger who will charge thousands of dollars to wear the Borat Mankini and make women around the world bleach their eyes or blush with anticipation.

I’d say Cue the Shmata Queen but that crazy broad might come after me with her giant black purse and I am too tired to duck but apparently not too tired to mess with her.

Instead I have decided to invest more time in my role as a Minister of Mishegoss and a Master of Meshugehnehs.

The Underwear Chronicles Of The Blogosphere

So not long ago a company reached out to me to ask if I would write about why shopping for underwear is so difficult for men and I told them I probably am not a good fit.

Why?

Because I said I shop naked and that probably makes me a bad person to speak with about underwear shopping.

You might wonder if I am being facetious but I assure you that I go command0 because it enables me to save time. When you shop naked you don’t have to worry about using a changing room so you never have to wait for one to be open nor do you have to wait in line for a cashier.

That is because the kind people at the store are always good about trying to help you move through there as fast as possible.

Sometimes they don’t make you pay either, but that might be because they don’t like where I store my bills and change.

When you don’t have pockets you have to make do.

And just to be clear, I am not talking about any back door action, no way, that is dirty.

Nah, you keep your cash natural, tucked under the boys or wrapped around your friend, kind of a like a cigar wrapper.

But you need to make sure you use some deodorant because sweat from your nether regions can make the ink on the bills run and you never want to answer your wife or girlfriend’s question about why your balls are green.

You can talk to them about blue balls and unless they are really mean they’ll understand and some of them might even volunteer to help you take care of that issue.

But green balls are a different story.

She really has to love you or she won’t go close to those suckers and then you end up with a whole different problem, not that I know anything about that because I have never been green.

I’d say I have never been blue, but some chicks are experts at creating a situation that they won’t help fix. Of course a gentlemen never pushes them to do so or tells them “That is ok, I am better at taking care of me than you are.”

Trust me on that, she’ll take that Mankini and make sure the thong part is pulled up so high you can hit High C.

***

Anyhoo, there has never been a time in my life in which I was shy or bothered about shopping for new underwear.

I never cared worried or wondered about whether I looked like the underwear models. Maybe it is because I used to swim competitively and when you wander around in Speedos that are so tight everyone knows whether you hang to the right or left something like boxers feels like a Burka for the boys.

You might wonder if old Jack Steiner the insouciant dad blogger who sometimes engages in keyword stuffing ever stuffed anything else or if he is just a master of hyperbole.

Well I can tell you when he is not talking about himself in the third person he’ll tell you that his forty-something year old body isn’t anywhere close to the hard body he once had.

Sure he can flex and see the cuts in his stomach but he is fairly certain no one else can and he just doesn’t care. Truth is he has never tried on underwear at a store because he knew what size he wore so he just picked up a package at Costco and went about his merry way.

And he’ll tell you that the idea of trying on underwear that he might not buy is weird and a bit disturbing. Would you really want to buy underwear that someone else once wore.

Side note, in college I had a minor disagreement with a guy who was sleeping with my ex.

Why?

Because I suggested that when he kissed her he might be able to taste my…sweat.

Are you thoroughly disgusted now?

He was and that was why he took a swing at me. Dude was lucky we weren’t close to a window because I would have defenestrated me.

Instead I put my size twelve boot against his ass and told him to walk away before I removed his ability to walk.

Aren’t men and their egos great.

Would Jack Wear a Mankini Like The Green One Above?

I don’t know, I might. Hard say whether I would or not.

I am pretty damn shy until I am not and then I am just unfiltered and willing to do whatever, whenever but that still doesn’t mean I would.

Back in the days when I was the young swimming lad of the lake I would have done it without thinking but now, I just don’t know.

Maybe for a laugh or maybe to encourage my children to listen. Something tells me I could motivate them to listen better, especially my daughter.

I might suggest that if she doesn’t change the tween attitude that I’ll show up at her school and then sing Hard to Handle in the quad.

That would get her attention.

Life is too short to take seriously, but if you really need to read a serious post check out the selection here.

And to think they wanted a post about underwear…

Write From The Heart & Edit With The Head

communication from the heart
Some people ask me to elaborate on whether There Are No Coincidences is based upon fact or fiction and I ask if it really matters or not.

They say I haven’t answered the question and I nod and smile.

“You still haven’t answered.”

“And I may never or I might, doesn’t really matter to you or to me whether I do. That story can be whatever you want to make of it.”

As for me, well I am still running with the moon and doing the best I can with whatever tools and resources I have during whatever moment I occupy in time and space.

What I know for certain is there are people who come into our lives who turn them upside down and inside out. If you open the eyes inside your chest and clear the clutter from your soul they will help you wake up and remember who you are and who you might have been.

They’ll help you realize that there is more to life than just going through the motions and force you to contemplate a different way of looking at life than you currently employ.

Put On Your Boogie Shoes

If you believe that the universe sends you signs and signals you might hear KC & The Sunshine Band signing Boogie Shoes as a sign to step outside of your comfort zone.

Or maybe you’ll say there is nothing special about it coming on because it was next on the iTunes shuffle playlist.

If you are me you won’t spend much time thinking about whether it is or isn’t because you are too busy trying to just write. Too busy trying to add layers of substance to the prose you are putting down on paper.

Or maybe I ought to say I am doing my best to just write what I feel and to share the tales my heart has been telling without concern about how they are going to be received.

Because good things happen when I don’t allow paralysis of analysis to influence whether I press publish or not.

Write from the heart and edit with the head means take a moment to make sure you haven’t published a post that is riddled with typos and grammatical errors.

It means you take a moment to make sure that upon emptying your heart upon the page you haven’t violated the boundaries of blogging that you hold dear.

And there are boundaries, there are stories you don’t own so you can’t share them without permission or at least careful thought about the consequences.

It Is Still About Dads and Daughters

One of the people who will most appreciate the part about boundaries is the star of It Is Still About Dads and Daughters.

She is 11 going on 30 and intent on finding her way and place in the world at breakneck speed. She has a million questions and thoughts about life and hits me with as many as she can.

“Dad, how old were you when you started dating? How many girlfriends did you have? Did they break your heart or did you break theirs? Do you know what they are doing now? Do you know any of mom’s boyfriends? How many did she have? I am not ready to start dating now, but when can I? Will I get a horse in Texas or one in LA? Why won’t you answer my questions?”

I smile and tell her I’ll answer some but not all.

“I have been heart broken and heartbreaker. Horses are expensive, how about we stick to bikes for now.”

She looks at me and tells me my answers lacked details.

“Want to know something that the women of my life have all complained about?”

I wait for her to lean in closer and then I whisper in her ear, “I don’t give out many details.”

“Daddy, girls like details. I know you know that.”

I smile and tell her that is precisely why I don’t give many.

“Grandma is right, you like being a pain-in-the-ass.”

I smile and nod my head.

“Here is another detail, when you start dating at 98 I’ll still be around to punch the boys in the nose.”

She laughs and rolls her eyes at me.

“You are ridiculous, you’ll be dead when I am 98.”

I laugh and hug her.

****

I tell her she is responsible for my circadian rhythm being screwed up, duck my to get in the car and wave goodbye.

It is the day after her slumber party and I am exhausted. A house full of middle school age girls has worn me out, mostly because they kept hours that would make a vampire cry.

Several of the girls were so attached to the electronic devices they brought along with them they didn’t want to participate in any of the group activities.

I did my best to encourage them to put them down and hang out with the other girls but they ignored my entreaties and kept playing on the tablets.

Part of me thought it was harmless and was willing to just ignore it but my daughter and the other girls were irritated about it so I did what fathers do, I saved the day.

Yep, I pulled the plug on the WiFi and when they lost their connection they went and hung out with the other girls.

Everybody’s Talkin

Harry Nilsson’s on iTunes and I am looking out a window into the dark wondering if I look hard enough if I can find the remnants of the day that was.

Don’t know why, but something about the song makes me think about how many bloggers seem to be in the game solely to chase fame and fortune.

Can’t tell you how many times I read posts about the best way to monetize a blog, how to go viral and a million other comments/posts about social media magic.

Those of you have been around long enough know that sort of crap makes me roll my eyes and that I am one of the grumpy old men of the blogosphere.

Won’t go off on a tear about how a low barrier to entry has flooded the marketplace, but it has.

Instead, I’ll tell you I hope when my children are ready they meet the kind of people that are talked about in the quote at the top of the page.

Those are the kind of people that wake you up and remember life isn’t made for just passing through. I want them to live hard, live long and live well.

That is not too much to ask for. What do you think?